Okay, I have no problem with elderly people, first off. I should say that right off the bat. My grandparents are among my favorite people, and I used to volunteer in a retirement home as a companion for the old ladies.
But, when you call on a phone with a question, it's always a good idea to make sure you listen to the person you're talking to. Or, at least, that you can hear them. I've gotten sons and daughters, or neighbors to call for their elderly relatives, friends, or neighbors. The truth is, it's hard to hear all the time over the phone, even if you have perfect hearing. Connections can be bad, etc. But this time, the connection was perfectly clear...
ODL: Old Deaf Lady
Me: City of _______________ Public Works, how can I help you?
ODL: *shouting* Is this the trash company?
Me: *holds the phone away from my ear and turns down the earpiece volume* Yes it is, how can I help you?
ODL: *still shouting* What?
Me *more slowly* Yes, how can I help you?
ODL: *still shouting, basically shouts for the entire convo* I live at ______________ Apartments, and the dumpster has always been picked up on Tuesday and Friday. Now they're coming on Thursday. Did it change?
Me: I'm not sure. It would only change if your apartment manager called it in. Have you checked with them?
ODL: What? You're going to check?
Me: Not yet, ma'am. I asked you if you had checked with your apartment manager.
Me: Ma'am, if you have the address of the container, I can look it up and tell you what days the trash service comes.
Me: What's the address?
ODL: Well, there's a bunch of apartments and they all use the same dumpster. 1405, 1407, 1409, 1411, 1413 *continues on*
Me: Ma'am. I understand that this is an apartment complex. But unless I know which building the dumpster is billed to, I can't enter that into the computer system to check.
ODL: You're going to check?
Me: Ma'am, I can't unless I have the address of the container.
ODL: I just gave you a list of addresses.
Me: You gave me the list of addresses that use the container. I still can't look it up until I have address the container is billed to.
ODL: Well, my address is ___________________________.
Me: *enters it in* I'm not showing service at that address. I have to have the address the container is billed to.
ODL: Well I don't know what you want from me!
Me: It would probably be more helpful for you to contact your apartment manager to find out when your service is scheduled for.
ODL: Well, what's their number?
Me: I don't know what your apartment manager's number is. That's not information I have access to.
Me: *repeats, more slowly*
ODL: *moment of silence* My apartment manager has nothing to do with this!
Me: Actually, ma'am, he does. Unless he called to change service, the days would not have changed.
ODL: Well, you shouldn't change days on us! We have been waiting till Thursday to put our trash out and now it's sitting in the dumpster until Tuesday. (side note - why would she care??? it's not like it's in her house)
Me: *sigh* Ma'am, I can assure you that the days have not changed unless your apartment manager called us to change them.
ODL: You're going to call him?
Me: No, ma'am, I'm suggesting you call him to double check your days of service.
Me: *repeats information, more slowly*
ODL: Well, you're no help. How come you can't look it up?
Me: Ma'am, I have already explained that if I don't have the address the container is billed to, it is impossible for me to enter it into my computer system. Please contact your apartment manager.
ODL: Well, he's not awake yet, he wakes up at 11:00am.
Me: Ma'am, unless I have that billing address there is nothing I can do for you.
ODL: Well, you're no help. Thanks for nothing.
I got off the phone, and my coworker started applauding. He said that he would have hung up on her long before I did, and he commended me for my patience.